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Anna Puglia: ‘Change is Good for the Soul’

From high school teacher to assistant principal, Branford recognizes longtime educator Anna Puglia for her dedication to the town and the school system.

Branford High School’s Assistant Principal Anna Puglia was recently nominated and selected by the community to be inducted to the 2012 Branford Education Hall of Fame. The induction dinner for the seven worthy individuals selected will be held at Woodwinds Restaurant in Branford on Thursday, April 26, at 7 p.m.; event details to come. 

Now a Guilford resident, Puglia, a Hamden native who lived in North Haven for more than 25 years, has been a teaching asset to Branford since 1988. After earning her undergraduate degree and certification from Southern Connecticut State University, Puglia chaired the history department at St. Mary’s High School in New Haven and then took a job teaching math and history at Branford High School.

“Branford,” she said, “is a wonderful community and I’ve enjoyed every moment at the high school.”

Puglia confesses that she didn’t always have aspirations of becoming an administrator. “I tested the waters,” she commented, “and I liked the courses.” Puglia earned her administrative degree from SCSU and became Branford’s Assistant Principal in the mid 1990s. “Part of me,” she said of the job change, “always believed that change is good for the soul.”

Reflecting on how great it was to be a teacher and share tight bonds with students she said of current role, “I touch students lives in a totally different way than that intimate student-teacher relationship found in the classroom.”

Get to know more about Puglia below and in case you missed it, check out last week’s feature on 2012 Hall of Fame inductee Gus Peterson.

In addition to honoring inductees through this column in the coming weeks, Patch would like to recognize those being inducted posthumously: Zenia Smolenski, teacher and principal at the former Harbor Street School; Nancy Knowlton, education activist; and Edward Hippolitus, Branford High School teacher and Career Education Coordinator.

Meet Anna Puglia

Branford Patch: Who was the most influential educator in your life and tell readers one anecdote about him or her?
Anna Puglia: My Father and my 11th grade social studies teacher were very influential educators in my life.  My dad, who had to leave school during the depression emphasized, daily, the importance of an education and its impact.  I remember reading one of Jane Austen's books... as he was going to work he said 'Keep reading, and become educated. I wish had had the time and opportunity."  My 11th grade teacher Elizabeth Hastings opened our eyes to the world by requiring us daily to read the New York Times.  That experience changed my view of the world.

Branford Patch: Do you consider yourself a natural educator or is it something you trained yourself to do?
Anna Puglia: I asked my daughter this question about me and she said I am a natural educator because I love learning and I like people . Yes, training comes in important to help in the delivery of curriculum and content.

Branford Patch: What’s your favorite childhood book?
Anna Puglia:
My favorite childhood book... The Engine That Could.

Branford Patch: Name one thing you like best about Branford’s education system?
Anna Puglia:
Since the day I started teaching in Branford in the 1980s I feel blessed and honored to work here. The geography of the town, the eclectic make-up of the population coupled with a true sense of community enhances the uniqueness of the Branford educational system.  The environment at the high school emphasis personal responsibility with respect.  Branford, the town and its schools is a very special place.

Branford Patch: What’s your advice to aspiring future educators?
Anna Puglia:
My advice to future educators is: “Be passionate, love what you do every day, realize you make a difference every day and realize your impact on students.” 

Laura I. Maniglia February 23, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Congratulations, Anna!
William O'Brien February 23, 2012 at 01:29 PM
A fine lady and a well deserved honor. Congratulations Ann.
Anthony Paecht February 23, 2012 at 02:47 PM
I have had the pleasure of her being my teacher my freshman year in 1989 during which I believe was called "The Core Program" later called "Horizons". She is a fantastic woman indeed. Congrats!
Mary Grande February 23, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Congratulations Anna! Anna is one of the finest people I have the privilege of knowing. No matter what she's doing if she sees you she says hello to you with her always bright smile. Always encouraging ..always determined ..always believing each student will and can succeed. Another fine addition to the Branford Education Hall of Fame. We're so fortunate to have her in Branford!
Tina O'Neill February 24, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Congratulations Mrs. Puglia! Students need administrators that are visible and they feel are approachable, attentive and fair.Thank you for demonstrating these qualities and supporting the diverse needs of your students.You lead by example and show meaningful kindnesses, decisiveness andthe flexibility needed to assist this population with their emergence into adulthood.

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